This is a very late Disney Cruise Review, but as I look to book my next cruise, I read all these bitter reviews about the Disney Fantasy so here goes a Review from a Newlywed couple in their upper 20s with no kids on their honeymoon.
It started in the Cruise Terminal, Disney must have had it specially built because it has all the Subtle Disney Nuances Like the mickey head shaped terminal gate. When you get on the ship it is stunningly beautiful. We went on a Halloween On The High Seas Cruise which meant there was all sorts of seasonal offerings throughout the cruise. Our cabin, an inside stateroom, was amazing with the interactive porthole. The Bed was so comfortable we found it hard to get up in the morning we were so comfortable. There were no hidden fees for us but that's also because we researched everywhere we could to make sure we knew what we were getting into. We knew about gratuities and Disney is pretty clear about their gratuities if you look in the right spot. Another thing I am seeing a lot of bad reviews about is the internet cost and that people think that's where Disney is trying to make all their revenue. Internet communication is one of the biggest expenses or a cruise line as it is mass satellite communication (they dont have long internet lines running to the ship) and people dont realize how expensive it is to run a ship's satellite. The other thing with Internet and this society is you are on a vacation, you cant go unplugged for a week?
Anyways we also reserved the Free character experience offerings (yes we were in our late 20s and loved meeting the characters). We loved every minute of the experiences, and it made since why it was a reservation only experience because they were one of a kind experiences. One experience had 4 princesses all together to meet, another had Anna and Elsa from Frozen and you could get your picture with them together which is a rare experience and the Disney Jr Breakfast which was cute. We aren't drinkers and tried the nightly drink a handful of times throughout our cruise so our bar tab didn't escalate. We got some moderately priced souvenirs and paid for 2 excursions which were awesome experiences.
The Cruise Staff and performers were amazing they all knew us by name by the end of the cruise some even adding us on facebook after the cruise. I will say, we did sit front row for every show and went to a lot of the activities so they saw us quite a bit and the fact we were honeymooners we were hard to forget. The service crew such as waiters and room attendants were phenomenal as well and helped us whenever they could by recommending things or just a simple wave when we left our stateroom. The people on the ship MADE the experience!
The shows were Broadway caliber and made my wife happy cry during most of them. We are both in the technical entertainment industry and we were blown away. I think the only Line that would compare in quality of shows would be Norwegian.
Our cruise was scheduled right after Irma so our itinerary was changed from western Caribbean to eastern Caribbean short notice because of the destruction of the virgin islands. This did not affect us because we didn't care what our ports of call were and when they notified us, they helped us change our port adventures. The last minute changes went surprisingly smoothly which we were going to be understanding either way because of mother nature.
Our first excursion was in Cozumel, Mexico at the Mayan cacao Chocolate factory where it was more cultural then anything else. We learned the history of chocolate as it pertains to the mayans and since it was a halloween season cruise they educated us on day of the dead in a fun way which we really appreciated as we went a couple months before the movie Coco came out which gave a new appreciation for the Holiday, the culture and the movie. After we toured the chocolate factory they gave us 2 hours at Playa Mia Beach park which was another amazing and relaxing experience. It stormed a little while so we had to get out of the water but we will chock that one up to mother nature and will not affect this review. It was one of the moderately lower priced port adventures at $60/person. The name of the adventure was A Mexican Halloween and Beach Adventure (CZ91).
Our second port of call and port adventure was Falmouth, Jamaica. Jamaica is a whole different lifestyle and it is Interesting to see. We did the Dolphin Cove and Dunn's River Falls Port adventure at $100/person. Dolphin Cove is a marine park that is unlike landlocked marine parks but at the same time it was a little small and we saw everything in about 45 minutes. Dolphin cove we probably would not do again. After Dolphin Cove we were taken to Dunn's River Falls, This park was amazing. I will give a short disclaimer for dunns river falls, you CLIMB up a water fall and although we saw kids on our excursion this is not something for young kids or Pregnant women in our opinion unless there is a 1 to 1 parent to kid ratio because it is rushing water, wet slippery rocks and vigorous activity. With that said, we had a blast doing this. The guides hop up the falls or fall back to help stragglers like they are mountain goats. They love taking pictures and they love answering questions. Dunns River Falls made up for Dolphin Cove. Dolphin cove will not affect the rating of this review as its an operator and not run by Disney so this is offered on multiple cruise lines.
Our 3rd port of call was Grand Cayman which we did on our own, which I recommend doing here as everything is close to the ship. It is a very interesting port, a lot of shopping or just small streets to stretch your legs, plus chickens run around like squirrels which amused us.
Our last port of call was Castaway Cay, Disney's Private Island. We also did not do any port adventures which I also recommend as you can walk the entire island and explore it on your own. We did some snorkeling on our own as they have a man-made reef with little Disney nuances like character statues and a pirate ship sunk in about 15 or so feet of water. They also have an adults only beach which was relaxing but its as far across the island as you can get but they have a little tram to take you there. Be VERY careful at any and all ports of call in the Caribbean as even an overcast day will give you a sunburn. It rained at castaway cay and was overcast 90% of the day but we got the worst sunburn we have ever gotten, mainly our fault for not re-applying sunscreen.
The only thing that put a little damper on the cruise is our dining assignments put us next to an awkward, pessimistic, extremely picky couple who were complaining about the itinerary change and that disney was just for kids and families but had apparently been on many Disney Cruises. My wife and I wondered why they take so many Disney Cruises and not a line geared more towards adults but this didnt put too much of a damper on the trip as they didnt show up for their dining assignments majority of the dining times.
We would recommend the Halloween On The High Seas Itineraries specifically because they are "off season" so tend to be cheaper, yet offer more entertainment than a normal season cruise while not being as pricey as a christmas cruise. Plus they have a costume party night! Its like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Sea!
We are Orlando Locals and WDW passholders so we dont mind being drenched in Disney Magic and Pixie Dust but we noticed, yes there are the Magic and Pixie dust character meet N greets and shows but there are also more subtle Disney design as well so it doesnt get shoved too far down your throat.
Overall, as NOTHING is for "EVERYONE", if you like quality service, great shows, relaxation and/or Disney Magic & Pixie Dust, do yourself a favor and take a Disney Cruise. Just do all the research you can as the "Hidden Fees" as some reviewers call it, arent so hidden if you look in the right spot!
It was spacious, cozy and had a cool interactive porthole